Tag Archives | Nokia

The Lumia 710 is Free, But Don’t Panic

The tech blogosphere’ collective head is spinning as Wal-Mart has dropped the price of Nokia’s first commercially available Windows Phone device in the US — the Lumia 710 — to free. Immediately, people began swing that this was a sure sign that the release is a bust: surely a device selling well wouldn’t be available for nothing so quickly? Or would it?

Look, it’s Wal-Mart were talking about here. Land of “Always Low Prices, Always.. Something tells me that we shouldn’t make judgements on the success of a device merely on this retailer’s pricing strategy. It could simply be that Wal-Mart wants to sell more phone. Let’s also consider the competitive landscape.

With the absolute glut of Android phones out there, there are quite a few devices on the market at that “free” price point. Wal-Mart has many of these devices because they fit into the demographic of their consumers: budget-conscious. The Lumia 710 is a great midrange phone, and is similar in functionality to those free devices.

Also look at Best Buy and T-Mobile: both still sell the device for $49.99 with a two-year contract. While Wal-Mart’s decision may accelerate their plans to discount the phone, they certainly are in no rush to join Wal-Mart in the race to the bottom. Nokia has only offered that these phones are selling “well”, so we really have no clue how things are going.

So take a breath, and let the market judge whether Nokia’s gamble was a smart one.

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Nokia Ships the N9, a Phone Without Apps

In February 2010, before the iPhone had any well-established rivals, Nokia and Intel announced a little open-source operating system called MeeGo, intended for phones, tablets and netbooks. A lot’s changed since then, but today, Nokia shipped its first and only MeeGo-based phone, the N9.

The N9 is an anomaly among smartphones based on new software. Unlike, say, the Palm Pre with WebOS or the Blackberry Playbook with QNX, the N9 isn’t supposed to be the start of something big. It’s actually the end of something small–an experimental device built on abandoned software. Earlier this year, Nokia committed to focusing on Windows Phones, phasing out Symbian and casting aside MeeGo as “an opportunity to learn.”

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Nokia’s N9 Video

Once upon a time, Nokia’s future–or part of it, at least–rested on an operating system called Meego. The company has released information on the N9, an upcoming phone that originated in that era.

Here’s a very Apple-style video showing it off:

It’s always a bad idea to form any firm conclusions about a gizmo based on a video demo, but…it looks pretty good! But with Nokia’s plans to emphasize Windows Phone 7 moving forward, it’s less of a sign of things to come and more of a freeze frame of an era that ended before it began.


Who’s Suing Who? A Cheat Sheet to the Mobile Patent Mess

So Apple is suing Samsung, accusing it of imitating Apple products with its Galaxy phones and tablets. The most startling thing about the news may be that the two companies weren’t already in court with each other. Over the past few years, the mobile industry has been so rife with suits and countersuits that if every complainant managed to sue every subject of its ire out of business…well, there’d hardly be a mobile industry left.

I had trouble remembering the precise details of the umpteen cases that have made headlines–as well as some related relationships, such as Microsoft’s licensing agreements with Amazon and HTC–so I decided to document them with a handy-dandy infographic, as much for my own edification as anyone else’s.

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Report: Microsoft Plans On Mobile Payments for Windows Phone

Microsoft is not going to be left behind when it comes to mobile payments, if a report from Bloomberg today is correct. The newswire’s sources claim that the Redmond company is already working to enable Near Field Communication (NFC) in Windows Phone 7, and the first devices with the technology may debut later this year.

Bloomberg had also reported that Google was set to offer its own NFC solution, aiming to test the technology in New York City and San Francisco later this year through a partnership with Verifone. Rumors of NFC in the iPhone have persisted as well, although there has been conflicting reports over the last week or two on whether it would make it to the “iPhone 5.”

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An Open Letter to Stephen Elop and Steve Ballmer

Dear Steves,

Normally, I try to avoid writing open letters to anyone–they’re a pretty stale journalistic convention. But the two of you used an open letter to confirm that Nokia and Microsoft have agreed to a strategic partnership that will make Windows Phone the software foundation of Nokia’s smartphone strategy. So another open letter feels like an appropriate way to respond.

So here’s my initial advice, which, as with all open letters, I’m sure you’ve been eagerly awaiting…

Don’t apologize. Lots of people–such as this guy–think your partnership is destined to fail. Some compare it to famous lackluster partnerships of the past, such as commenter here who brings up Sears and Kmart. I’m not predicting success…but I also think it’s hasty to dismiss your game plan. Windows Phone isn’t a stinker–it’s a promising and distinctive mobile operating system, albeit one that needs more work. And Nokia still makes some of the nicest phone hardware in the business. I haven’t seen anyone propose an alternative strategy that sounds more logical. You’re making an intelligent gamble given the situation at hand.

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Nokia: Is MeeGo a No-Go?

According to Reuters, Nokia has scrapped its first smartphone based on MeeGo, the Linux-based operating system that was supposed to do what Nokia’s aging Symbian could not. The internal memo by new CEO Stephen Elop leaked at Engadget says that the company is announcing its new strategy on Friday; if MeeGo is in trouble, it’s hard to imagine that the plan doesn’t involve adopting Windows Phone 7 or Android, or maybe both…